I have no one to blame but my own stupid self. It was a very crowded section of the bike path, near downtown, at rush hour, where the path narrows and makes a tight little S-curve right up against a busy thoroughfare. I wasn't going very fast, but still, it was too fast for the situation.
And the combination of an oncoming cyclist, my slight distraction because of the traffic, and the 3 inch drop at the edge of the path (because we were in front of the Denver Country Club, and you know, landscaping trumps cyclist safety every time) well... suffice it to say it was enough to push me over the edge...
As much as I would like to be able to blame the landscaping, or the path, or the traffic, or the oncoming cyclist, it really was my own stupid fault.
Fortunately I was on the country club side of the path, not the rush hour traffic side, and nobody else got hurt. Anyhow, aside from a nice bruise on the gluteus bootyus, one small scratch on my finger, and a somewhat wounded sense of pride, I emerged unscathed.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for a dear friend of mine who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer 2 months ago, and has been battling for her life ever since. She saw the most cutting edge specialists in the world, but when I got home from my ride I was greeted with the terrible news that there just isn't anything else they can do, so she's coming home to enter hospice care. Sigh.
So here's the thing. Life takes no prisoners, there are no guarantees, nobody gets out alive, and you never know when your number may be up.
But you know what? The fact that we're all gonna die is not tragic... it's simply the way life works. But what really is tragic in my opinion, is to spend your life caught in the machinations of this crazy society of ours, and never really get to enjoy the good stuff.
And in a funny way my little run-in with the pavement this afternoon was a wonderful reminder of that for me. I sometimes hold back from things that I want to do because of fear.
For me it's mostly fear of getting physically hurt - suffice it to say that my over-protective father inadvertently succeeded in filling my impressionable little head with gruesome fantasies of every conceivable way that I might meet a horrible and untimely demise... and crashing off my bike was always one of those.
But you know what... I fell, I crashed, and I'm OK. Now, I'm not advocating recklessness... lord knows I'm gonna be avoiding that section of the path at rush hour, and I'll certainly be slowing down to a crawl in similar situations in the future.
The truth is, there really isn't any path through life that's "safe." Somehow I think the best we can do is to live our lives with integrity and unwavering commitment to being true to ourselves.